Suffolk track teams advance

Published 11:04pm Friday, February 22, 2013

All three Suffolk high schools had athletes move on from the Eastern Region track and field championships and are represented at the Virginia High School League 2013 AAA Virginia State Indoor Track and Field Championships this weekend at the Boo Williams Sportsplex in Hampton.

Lakeland junior Jamee Albright runs the first leg of the 4x800 meter relay. The team finished 15th but put up one of its best times ever with 10:00.57 in its first-ever appearance at the state level.
Lakeland junior Jamee Albright runs the first leg of the 4×800 meter relay. The team finished 15th but put up one of its best times ever with 10:00.57 in its first-ever appearance at the state level.

Nansemond River sophomore Zakiya Rashid placed the highest out of all Suffolk competitors who completed their events on Friday, earning bronze in the shot put with a throw of 39 feet-1.5 inches.

Lakeland was represented by the girls’ 4×800 meter relay team, which includes juniors Alexis and Jamee Albright, Kristen Vick and Alexus Copeland. The final in their event took place on Friday night and they came in 15th, but were excited by producing one of their best times ever — 10:00.57 — in their first trip to the state championships.

“They were a little nervous as expected, their first time in the state track meet,” Lakeland track coach Kevin Knight said. “I’m proud of them. I know they ran their heart out.”

Out of the Suffolk schools, King’s Fork brought in the most state qualifiers. The group included junior Gabrielle Snipes in the long jump and 55-meter dash. Snipes ran the 55-meter dash preliminary on Friday and qualified for the finals today with a time of 7.22 seconds, good for seventh. She was joined in the event by Nansemond River’s other two individual state qualifiers, freshman Brandee Johnson and junior Mia McClain. Johnson was the only one to make it to the finals, coming in ninth with a 7.27 time.

Johnson will also race in the 300-meter dash today.

King’s Fork senior Te’Shaibrah Myles was the only other member of her team in action on Friday, competing in the pole vault. Coach Ruchelle Ricks said she had some issues with her pole. She ultimately finished 16th.

The center of attention at the meet today for Suffolk will be the 4×200 meter relay race between King’s Fork and Nansemond River. At the Southeastern District championships, Nansemond River won, producing a time that was third in the state (1:44.20). At the Eastern Region championships last weekend, King’s Fork won with a time that topped that (1:43.84).

“The girls right now are ranked number one in the state of Virginia and 14 in the United States,” King’s Fork track coach Marvin Ricks said.

Even Nansemond River’s track coach, Justin Byron, could not help but also rave about the team which includes Brittany Dickens, Courtney Ricks, Roneka Spady and Snipes.

“This is going to be nice, long, drawn-out rivalry between King’s Fork and Nansemond River, and right now they definitely have the upper hand because they ran the number one time in the state last week,” he said.

Byron remarked that all the members of King’s Fork’s team will return next year and 75 percent of his team will as well. Nansemond River’s relay is made up of Johnson, McClain, sophomore Kara Lyles and senior Kieaira Middleton.

The King’s Fork boys’ 4×200 meter relay team also qualified, featuring juniors Patrick Boone, Andrew Gould, Darrell Johnson and senior Noah Johnson.

Gould qualified individually for the 500-meter long sprint and Noah Johnson in the 300-meter dash.

The state championships are expected to resume today at noon.

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